By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times
If you’re looking for something fun to do on Monday, you have several good options — “Be Happy,” celebrate the first day of Spring or get a free water ice at any of Rita’s Water Ice locations around the area.
It won’t take much of an effort to do all three at the same time.
The International Day of Happiness is March 20 — every year — forever.
The International Day of Happiness was introduced by the General Assembly of the United Nations during 2012 and was celebrated for the first time in 2013. Through seminars and educational tips and tools, the aim is to educate and increase public awareness of the benefits of happiness.
The original idea came from the Kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayan region of Asia. There, the population is thought by many to be among the happiest in the world due to the holistic approach to life and the amount of importance which is placed on the well-being of people and communities, as much as material wealth.
For everyone, the day is a useful reminder that in general happiness does not necessarily come from buying and consuming, or from being famous or glamorous – but often from friends, family and emotional well-being. Internationally, there are many events and websites in which people may participate.
March 20 has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority. It is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organizations.
So, when March 20 arrives, smile, share, eat healthily, exercise, be grateful, give back, think positively, spend some time with friends and family, spend some time alone, be mindful, dream, listen to music, say “thank you” and mean it, compete, be charitable. Do what makes you happy.
You can download your free “Happiness Guidebook” packed full of ideas and actions to create a happier life for you and those around you at http://www.dayofhappiness.net/#join.
That’s right – a day of free water ice at Rita’s. On this special day each year, Rita’s is offering every guest a free Italian ice to celebrate arrival the arrival of spring – and the warm “water ice weather” it brings with it to the area.
Tasty treats are always fun – even more so if they are free.
On March 17, Puyero Venezuelan Flavor (524 South 4th Street, Philadelphia, 267-928-4584, www.puyeroflavor.com) is celebrating its Grand Opening with an event called “Arepas on the House.”
The newest restaurant in the South Street Headhouse District brings even more global cuisine to one of the city’s top food neighborhoods.
Owners Simon A. Arends, Gil J. Arends and Manuela Villasmil have created a space that brings the cuisine, culture and customs of Venezuela to Philadelphia.
The best way to get familiar with an arepa is to enjoy eating one for free. The arepa is a crunchy ground maize patty with a soft and warm inside filled with juicy and exotic stuffings.
The menu, which is influenced by the owners’ home region of Maracaibo, Venezuela, also features patacons (fried sweet plantain sandwich with beef or chicken), tequeños (deep fried dough wrapped around cheese) and other incredibly delicious food along with an array of flavorful house-made sauces. The menu also includes four kinds of tropical house-made juices and beverages.
On March 18, anyone ordering and arepa or patacon will have the choice of one of four free sides– mandoca (corn and flour plantain mix deep fried with cinnamon and topped with white cheese and cream), yucca (fried cassava), tajedas de platano (fried sweet plantains with white cheese) or tequeños.
Featured desserts are marquesa (cookie and chocolate layered cake) and churros (fried dough filled with chocolate).
The Afternoon Music Club of Phoenixville (610-933-8696, http://www.afternoonmusicclub.com) is presenting another concert in its 2016-2017 season on March 21 at 1 p.m.
The concert features dramatic coloratura soprano Alessandra Gabbiannelli and baritone Thaddeus Shire. The performance will be held at the First United Methodist Church, which is located at 865 South Main Street in Phoenixville.
A brief business meeting of the club follows each program and then refreshments follow the meeting. New members are welcome and will pay half the yearly dues at this season midpoint for the three remaining concerts.
Visitors are always welcome and are requested to pay $8 at the door. A “Visitor” is anyone who is not an invited guest of a member.
Other concerts this season will feature Jassamine Harris on violin and Milena Urban on piano on April 18 and a ‘Jazz Concert” on May 16 (artists TBA).
Although it takes place next weekend, here’s a Chester County tradition that you’ll want to get on your calendars: the 68th Annual Chadds Ford Art Sale & Show will be held March 24 and 25 at the Chadds Ford Elementary School. Founded in 1949 by Betsy Wyeth, the popular Chadds Ford Art Sale & Show features works by over 70 professional artists from the Brandywine Valley and beyond.
Artists showcase a variety of works to satisfy every taste and budget. The “Featured Artist” is Len “Leonardo” Garon and the “Donating Artist” is Jacalyn Beam.
The “Opening Night Complimentary Reception & Sale” will be held on March 24 from 7-10 p.m. and feature live music and complimentary hors d’oeuvres from prominent local restaurants and food service businesses. Many of the participating artists will be available to sign or personalize their work.
The “Art Exhibit & Sale” will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on March 25. Special attractions include live music and a raffle drawing at 3 pm. All proceeds support educational enrichment programs at Chadds Ford Elementary School.
If you suffer from acrophobia (fear of heights) or claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces), attending this Saturday’s event the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Road, Oaks, 610-529-3614, www.northernberksreptileshow.com) should pose no problems.
However, if you’re affected by herpetophobia (fear of reptiles) or ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), then you should stay away from the Expo Center — or be prepared to freak out.
On March 18, the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center will host the East Coast Reptile Super Expo featuring hundreds of live snakes and reptiles. The event will run from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. this Saturday.
For many people, snakes and lizards are interesting creatures — and maybe even fun pets to own. If you fall into this category, you should check out the show on Saturday. A wide array of reptiles will be on display as part of the popular exhibition, which is an annual event that is closing in on its silver anniversary.
One of the show’s main attractions is a sales exhibit area featuring a large number of vendors with live reptiles, amphibians and arachnids as well as food items, supplies, books, cages, and related accessories.
The roster of very diverse vendors includes RKZ Rodents. Monstar Reptiles, Turtle to Turtle, Delaware Valley Herpetarium, J-N-T Reptiles, Newville Dragons, PM Herps, Jay Jacoby Serpent Propagation, Black Jungle Terrarium Supply, VSCV Ventures LLC, Dachiu Dragons, Tom Rogan Reptiles, Native Exotics and Jon & Wess Reptiles.
The list also includes AZO Reptiles, Rose’s Reptiles, Livecargo Pets & Supplies, Dale’s Bearded Dragons, Blake’s Exotic Reptiles, Dower Reptiles & Rodents, Reptile Kingdom, DHA Pythons, Gecko Haven, Skins and Scales, Hunger Reptiles, Jungle Emporium, The Snake Pit, Delaware Turtle, Harris in Wonderland, Just Lizards and Outback Reptiles.
Other featured vendors will be Serpents Plus, Heath’s Frog Farm, Corralus Creations, Rogue Reptiles LLC, Jason R Bartolett Captive Bred Reptiles, Fowler Reptiles, Dragon Fortress, Turtle Towns, Garden State Tortoise LLC, Reptile Addicts, Bob’s Critters, Franken Chams, MCO Reptiles and Fins, Feathers, Paws & Claws.
Tickets are $10 with children (under five) admitted free.
Once spring has officially arrived in the Delaware Valley, the area’s event calendar begins come alive with a variety of antiques shows, craft shows and home shows. This weekend, one of the earliest antiques shows in the 2017 season will take place in Chester County.
The Antiques at Kimberton Show will be held on March 18 and 19 at the Kimberton Fire Company Hall (2276 Kimberton Road, Kimberton, 717-431-7322, http://antiquesatkimberton.vpweb.com) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.
The show will feature more than 65 vetted dealers from all over the Mid-Atlantic region with exhibit booths filling over 10,000 sq. ft. of space. Every dealer is hand-selected to make sure that authentic, quality antiques are always showcased. Visitors will be able to browse and make selections from a wide array of top-quality antiques and collectibles.
Some of this year’s featured dealers are Cottage Antiques, Ayscough Antiques, Stone Gate, The Saturday Evening Experience, Primitive Peddler, Distant Past Antiques, Vintage, Calder Antiques, Serendipity Antiques, Hex Highway Antiques, Antiques Estates Collection, Diane Hogg Antiques, and Chesapeake Country Antiques.
The roster also includes Lems Larks, Morales American Indian Collectibles, Happiness is Antiques, American Vernacular, The Better Treasure, The Gatchellville Store, Trinkets and Treasures, Could Be Kindling, Wishes Antiques, and Harmonyville Antiques.
The long list of featured categories includes furniture, primitives, art, collectibles, textiles, pottery, glassware and a variety of other items from the past. The show, which has been in existence since the 1960s, is known for its diversity and the willingness of the dealers to discuss the items they are selling.
Tickets are $7 and there is free parking. Additionally, there will be a variety of food available for purchase during show hours.
For more than three decades, the nation’s most-talented artisans have personally sold their contemporary crafts and fine art at Sugarloaf Craft Festivals. Rated as one of the top craft experiences in the country, approximately 300,000 visitors attended Sugarloaf Craft Festivals around the states and enjoyed the work of thousands of juried artisans.
The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will visit the area this weekend for a three-day run at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 800- 210-9900, www.sugarloafcrafts.com) from March 17-19.
The well-attended annual event features an amazing array of top-caliber works in a wide variety of categories such as tapestry, musical instruments, jewelry, accessories, bells, quilts, glass, copperware, chair caning, enamels, furniture, sculpture, photography, boxes, pillows and clothing.
The list of craft genres also includes painted silk, fine arts, weaving, pottery, mixed media, brass items, woodwork, fused glass, hats, blown glass, rugs, leather, wind chimes, woodturnings, forged iron, baskets, specialty foods and collectibles.
A full slate of craft demonstrations will be featured at this weekend’s event in categories such as wheel-thrown pottery, paper making, iron forging, broom making, copper spinning, stone sculpting and hand-carved wooden bowls and spoons.
Additionally, the festival offers an ambitious schedule of live musical entertainment. Children’s entertainment will feature costumed storytelling by Carl Odhner and the Middle Earth Studio. The Sugarloaf Craft Festival also includes the “Feastival of Foods.”
The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 and are good all three days.
The Please Touch Museum (Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, 215-581-3181, www.pleasetouchmuseum.org) is celebrating Holi on March 18 and 19.
Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal. It is also known as the “festival of colors” and the “festival of love.”
The Holi festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, the end of winter. It is a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.
The celebration at Please Touch has the same schedule for both days – starting with a performance by the Nava Nritya Dance Academy at noon (and again at 2 p.m.).
Other featured attractions at the festival are performances by Raga Kids Music, storytelling sessions explaining the meaning of Holi and family sing-alongs.
Participants can add to a collaborative art project inspired by the traditional Indian art of Rangoli, which uses colors and shapes to create beautiful patterns, and create their own springtime scene using watercolor pencils and brushes.
The event will close each day with a “Dance and Color Party” running from 4:30-5 p.m. Guests will be able to listen to Bollywood music, dance with colorful scarves, and throw colorful confetti, symbolizing the Holi tradition of throwing pigments.
Access to the Holi celebration is included in the price of museum admission which is $19 for children and adults.
Another very colorful event is taking place in Philadelphia this weekend.
The Philadelphia Flower Show is running now through March 19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia, 215-988-8899, www.theflowershow.com). The festive event’s theme is “Holland: Flowering the World.”
“Holland: Flowering the World” serves as inspiration to the show’s floral designers and explores the country’s eco-design, modern greening and traditional windmills, wooden shoes and tulips. Visitors will be greeted by an extravagant entrance garden with more than 30,000 blooms and a dazzling overhead flower canopy.
The show will feature 10 acres of exhibition halls with floral displays celebrating the history and culture of the Netherlands as well as Dutch garden innovations – including a futuristic eco-dome. It will mark the first time the dome has been exhibited outside of Holland.
The show’s biggest attraction each year is the massive “Marketplace” featuring over 150 vendors from all over America and several European nations. They will be selling flowers, orchids, floral-inspired furniture, sheds, artwork and unique garden-related crafts and supplies.
Tickets for the Philadelphia Flower Show are $35 at the door for $35. Tickets are $22 for students with valid ID and $17 for children ages 2-16.
Another indoor attraction of a horticultural nature is the “Orchid Extravaganza,” which is running now through March 31 at Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org).
The celebration of the orchid species features approximately 4,500 orchids in bloom along with a variety of displays and special exhibits throughout its four-acre conservatory. There are displays of orchids in planting beds, containers and innovative exhibits.
As one of the first plant collections at Longwood, orchids have held a place of distinction since 1922. Longwood’s talented horticulturists celebrate the beauty and variety of orchids with an artful display that includes a towering 12-foot-tall archway, a spectacular orchid curtain, and hundreds of vibrant Vanda orchids in the Silver Garden.
Admission to Longwood Gardens is $23 for adults, $20 for seniors and $12 for students.
On March 19, the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is hosting a special “Irish Breakfast Buffet” from 7 a.m.-noon at Joanna Furnace (1250 Furnace Road, Geigertown, 610-286-0388, www.haycreek.org).
The buffet event will also feature live music performed by Phyllis Hummel. She will be singing Irish and Scottish songs — many of which would have been familiar to the Scotch-Irish workers at Joanna Furnace and their families in the local community.
The meal will feature a traditional Irish buffet of pancakes, french toast, county sausage, homemade corned beef hash, bacon, scrapple, creamed chipped beef, scrambled eggs, country-style potatoes, baked oatmeal, fruit, coffee and juice. Tickets are $9 for adults and $4.50 for children (ages 5-11).
On March 19, the Schuylkill Canal Association’s Canal Day will host the “St. Patrick’s Day Hike and Treasure Hunt” in and around Lock 60 (Mont Clare, 610-917-0021, http://www.schuylkillcanal.org).
Hikers are instructed to meet in the parking lot behind the Pickering Creek Inn at 1p.m. and then walk across the bridge over the Schuylkill River and down the towpath to Lock 60.
In the Lock 60 picnic grove and surrounding area, there will be “gold coins” that have been scattered throughout the field for children to gather and turn in for prizes at the Locktender’s house (weather permitting).
Children of all ages can join in with a treasure and scavenger hunt with adult supervision. The hunt is expected to start around 1:40 p.m. To register youngsters for the “Treasure Hunt,” call (610) 917-0021.
Live music will be presented by Meadowlark with a program featuring both folk songs and Irish tunes. Admission is free. However, donations will gladly be accepted. The hike will be canceled if there is a steady rain.
Another indoor/outdoor event scheduled for March 19 is “Signs of Spring,” which will start at 2 p.m. at Norristown Farm Park (West Germantown Pike
and Barley Sheaf Drive, 2500 Upper Farm Road, Norristown, 610-270-0215, http://www.montcopa.org/874/Norristown-Farm-Park).
Activities begin with a slide show that will feature “Signs of Spring” in both the plant and animal kingdoms. After the indoor portion of the program, park guides will lead visitors on a walk outside to experience the unfolding of a new season in the park
Pre-registration required. Participants are instructed to meet in the salt wing of the barn. The event, which is open to adults and children (age 6 and older), is free.